Allegheny College’s Playshop Theatre began its 87th season with “Rejoice!” on Friday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. “Rejoice!” ran until Saturday, Sept. 10, in Gladys Mullenix Black Theater in the Vukovich Center. The play was directed by Roberta Levine and written and performed by Dan Crozier, professor of theatre.
“Rejoice!” is a one-man performance about life, death, politics, sex, gender and identity. The play involves character shifting, with Crozier personifying various characters with distinct ideas. Crozier himself had a hard time explaining what the show was really about.
“There are so many references to culture in the show,” Crozier said. “I saw it as someone was flipping through a lot of channels and seeing different things and that they are all connected in my mind somehow.”
Crozier had the idea for the play years before. The script continued to change all the way up until opening night.
“I’ve done five of these before, and my wife, Roberta, directs them,” Crozier said. “I was looking for something to say, and I looked at my notebooks from three or four years ago and the basic ideas were already there. I had been thinking about this for a long time and really, it’s the deadline that forces you to say, ‘Okay, where’s the product?’ A lot of it was written a month and a half ago. Even the last week, there were new lines and some parts were a little improvised.”
Crozier explained that whenever he would work on the script, he would show it to Levine for insights. She gave him ideas, but he often argued against them. After a couple of days, he started to really see the sort of play she was going for.
“She’s got a tremendous amount of experience in theatre,” he said. “I love the fact that we can work together and have fun. She’s integral for me to create shows like these.”
During the first minutes of the show, Crozier addressed the Allegheny community, asking questions about whether they were in the right place, at the right time.
During the play Crozier’s character ate a mixture of asparagus, mayonnaise, Spaghetti O’s and 7-Up.
“Part of me wanted to do a cooking show,” said Crozier. “So when I put in the blurb about the play the word asparagus, I knew I had to have asparagus in the show.”
Levine enjoyed how the performance turned out, saying Crozier is entertaining to watch.
“I love what Dan does,” said Levine. “I think that he is a wonderful actor and I love the way he handles time and energy and the way he dominates the stage.”
Ron Cole, provost and dean of the college, enjoyed the performance and believed that this type of show enabled audiences to connect with Crozier.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the play,” said Cole. “Dan is amazing. He can personify and connect with an audience. This was by far one of the most thought-provoking performances I have ever seen.”
Noah Thompson, ’19, thought that the show was different from others he had seen.
“It was riveting,” said Thompson. “I’m not sure how to describe it.”
At the end of the night, Crozier gave a few words of advice to the audience. He said anyone who wishes to perform in a show similar to “Rejoice!” should love what they do.
“It’s really got to come from you,” said Crozier. “You have to find something you really want to explore about the world, about yourself, about our culture. I think that’s the key to doing a lot of stuff. If you think that, you are going to be fine. I spent a lot of time examining this in different ways and looked at a lot of literature as part of preparing for this type of show.”
To see the full playshop theatre performance schedule go to the Allegheny College website.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, The Campus wrote that Dan Crozier’s title was associate professor of theatre. Dan Crozier is a professor of theatre. Updated Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at 4:04 p.m.